Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

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Elias French
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Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby Elias French » Thu May 21, 2020 7:47 pm

For those of us new(ish) to this subject, can someone enlighten as to the origin and history of these funds, and some examples of good uses to which it might be put? For example, would using it to pay for recovering and raising to grade long-covered well mon casings be allowed, or to pay for re-setting of mons that were tied out long ago, but not reset?

Looking for practical suggestions for a newish Mon. Pres. Committee, and context for the purpose for which these funds were created. Thanks all.

Eli French
Chair, SF Mon Pres Committee
President, SF Chapter

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mpallamary
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby mpallamary » Thu May 21, 2020 9:10 pm

There is an old article in the Cal Surveyor out there I will try and locate. At the risk of aggravating someone, from my experience, the money has been used for County Surveyors, for pet projects like locating sections corners in areas that will never be developed, as opposed to protecting and preserving monuments in high activity areas where the demand and need is the highest. We have run into problems where, even though the vast majority of the money is collected for urban based deeds, the County Surveyor uses the money in the county proper as opposed to in incorporated cities. In the city of San Diego, where most of the money comes from (the city is a part of the county), to my knowledge, projects in the city are never funded from this fund even though deeds recorded in the city pay the lion's share of things.

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Elias French
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby Elias French » Sat May 23, 2020 8:37 am

Thank you Mr. Pallamary, I'll have a look for that article too but please post it if you can find it. And thanks for the input on use of the fund in San Diego. My only knowledge of its use is second-hand, for example in Sonoma Co. for a County Line Survey, and in Humboldt County for GLO corner recovery surveys, and other worthy projects applied for by local surveyors.

Any other monument preservation committees or CS's please chime in if you have good examples of how these funds have been successfully used in your community!

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mpallamary
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby mpallamary » Sat May 23, 2020 8:58 am

Do you know how to look for such an article? It was from back in 1980 through 1987, more or less. You can search through the CLSA website. The article, as I recall, was by Lou Hall, the former county surveyor for San Diego.

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Jim Frame
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby Jim Frame » Sat May 23, 2020 9:59 am

Yolo County has commissioned at least 6 projects going back to 2004. These have mostly been in rural areas (in a mostly rural county), upgrading major land net corners in the county roads. One project resurveyed the street intersections in the small town of Esparto. I don't think they've done any in the last 5 years, though. When the county forced out the last staff County Surveyor and went to a contract CS (who neither lives nor works nor ever practiced in the county), the momentum for preservation projects dissipated.
Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616
[url]framesurveying.com[/url]

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subman
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby subman » Sat May 23, 2020 10:53 pm

Here is my opinion. I was the fund manager in LA County before retiring and working in the private sector. The funds are collected from the sale of deed created private property (non subdivided parcels). They should be used to preserve/replace monuments of historical significance on private lands to prevent the County General Fund and the private surveyor from bearing that retracement/replacement cost after a disaster like a fire.

Monuments in the public road right of way should be perpetuated with gas tax revenue during road maintenance activities and from the project budget for capital projects: not monument preservation funds. In general, cities are made up of a high percentage of subdivided lots that were annexed after creation, so they don't contribute much to the fund.


From Los Angeles County Code:

A general fund Survey Monument Reserve Account No. 9742 is hereby established for the purpose of financing the expenses incurred or authorized by the county engineer in any retracement or remonument survey of major historical land-division lines upon which later surveys are based, such as, but not limited to, government section lines, rancho lines, grant lines, rancho section lines, acreage subdivision lot lines, and subdivision boundary lines within the county.

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Jim Frame
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby Jim Frame » Sun May 24, 2020 8:01 am

Monuments in the public road right of way should be perpetuated with gas tax revenue during road maintenance activities and from the project budget for capital projects: not monument preservation funds.


In Yolo County the road monuments that were upgraded in MPF projects were typically section and quarter-section monuments set in the late 19th and early 20th century that were situated a foot or two below present-day finish grade. Prior to the upgrade, every time a surveyor needed to access the monument he had to spend an hour or more (sometimes several hours on busier roads) tearing up the pavement to get at it. Thus the upgrade saved the nearby private landowners some money when they needed their land surveyed, saved the county money on repeated road patching costs, and saved the surveying community the hassle and danger of digging a deep hole in the middle of a road. In my opinion, those were good uses of MPF monies.
Jim Frame
Frame Surveying & Mapping
609 A Street
Davis, CA 95616
[url]framesurveying.com[/url]

-Dave Ryan-
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby -Dave Ryan- » Mon May 25, 2020 12:33 pm

Elias,
It’s commendable that you are reaching out to research the best way to use this fund. I was hired by Humboldt County as an Associate Land Surveyor in 1994, and one of my first tasks was to establish protocol for implementing the Monument Preservation Fund, which had been established via ordinance in 1988.
I’m including a paragraph below from some recent correspondence summarizing a brief history of the fund’s establishment in Humboldt County. The first project was awarded in 1996 and approximately 15 projects have been undertaken since then, all done by private surveyors through a qualifications based selection process. A few miscellaneous projects were done by the County Surveyor’s office, after coordinating with CLSA as to whether they seemed appropriate uses of the fund.
A few more recent thoughts come to mind before getting to that paragraph; I’ve seen a tendency to assume the best use of the fund is in anticipation of areas subject to future growth and development. I differ in this sentiment in that the developers seem to be in the best position to use their financial wherewithal to ensure boundaries are sufficiently established and resolved in areas they will be taking on a project. The monument preservation fund seems more appropriate for those areas that aren’t going to get the attention of the developers and that the local surveyors agree are the areas in need of attention. For instance, the very first project done in Humboldt County was one that involved a city in which street monuments set in 1895, were typically able to be found, when searched for, buried 1.5 to 2.5’ deep, often under AC paving. Most surveyors didn’t bother to do the work required to find these monuments due to the immense time and effort involved. This easily burns up the budget for a small landowner needing one or two corners set, when it requires developing a search location, then doing the monument recovery. Over the years, a few surveyors had gone to the effort, revealing that those monuments were there if you spent the time (and money) to recover them. This seemed the ideal job to make boundary surveys in this community easier and more affordable. I’m also a believer that County and City public works departments need to be responsible in protecting their street monuments and pay out of their road funds to bring those to the surface they have covered over in the past. There may be some instances where it’s reasonable to use the fund for those purposes, but should be evaluated on a case by case basis, but definitely not for recently paved over monuments. I’m also attaching some local guidelines developed around 1995 for Humboldt County, still applicable. And here’s the paragraph I recently wrote to another local surveyor:

The Humboldt Chapter of CLSA was instrumental in the fund being established locally, around 1986 in collaboration with the County’s Land Use Engineer at the time (there was no licensed surveyor at the County, other than the pre-82 Pubic Works Director). The Land Use Engineer and the Director requested that CLSA suggest how the fund should be used once the balance started accumulating. To their credit, they felt that local surveyors knew the history of Humboldt County surveying better than they did, and would be in a good position to provide guidance on using these public funds consistent with the purpose of the fund. CLSA created a list of areas and the County followed that list in deciding on every project undertaken. As more and more projects were completed, CLSA’s MPF committee would be asked to suggest new projects to add to the list or revise the old list as we both learned how best to maximize use of the fund by selecting projects with the most need and value. In fact, the Board of Supervisors approved guidelines to be used consistent with what was just described.
There are anecdotes of many Counties squandering away these funds on in-house expenditures, GIS systems, equipment, or large projects that ultimately didn’t have anything to do with preserving “major land division lines”, as the code requires. Humboldt County has proudly used the fund in collaboration with the local surveying community for areas that benefitted greatly from this fund. I would venture that legislation that established this fund could never pass in this day and age. It is a rare and special benefit related to a recognition of the importance of historical land boundaries, and is not to be used arbitrarily or without serious contemplation.

Dave Ryan,
Arcata, Ca.
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mpallamary
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Re: Monument Preservation Fund - history and purpose?

Postby mpallamary » Tue May 26, 2020 8:09 am

I found the CAL SURVEYOR article from back in 1985. I hope it helps.

Thanks for pursuing this topic.It is of great importance.
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